Siete Foods’ Veronica Garza Keeps Family Christmas Traditions Sweet And Healthy
The co-founder and president of the grain-free Mexican food company recalls her childhood holidays in Laredo
By Hannah J. Phillips
Veronica and Miguel Garza, the siblings at the helm of Siete Family Foods, live by the mantra, “juntos es mejor,” or, “together is better.” It was that principle that launched the close-knit clan’s grain-free Mexican food products in 2014 after Veronica was diagnosed with debilitating autoimmune conditions and the whole family changed their diet and started exercising.
With the success of their heritage-inspired brand, the family has grown to include everyone who works at Siete Foods. With the holidays upon us, we reached out to Veronica and Miguel, who were featured in Tribeza’s December People Issue, to learn about the food and festivities the Garzas cherish during the Christmas season.
“Growing up, we always kicked off the season with my mom decorating the house like a winter wonderland,” Veronica says. “We had red and green Santas everywhere, lights all around the house and poinsettias in every corner. It was total sensory overload, but it was really fun.”
Today, the Garzas keep that tradition alive by decking the halls of the Siete headquarters in Austin. The team puts up a tree and each team member brings a special ornament to hang.
“Now that we have this great space that we share with our larger Siete family, we always decorate so that it’s reminiscent of our home growing up in Laredo,” Veronica says. “The whole team pitches in.”
On Christmas morning, Veronica recalls sneaking downstairs early in the morning with her siblings to spy on all the presents under the tree. After the family opened gifts, her mother would make a huge brunch, featuring papas con juevo, bacon, homemade beef chorizo and, of course, tortillas.
Perhaps most memorable, however, were the piles of buñuelos that were always available around Christmas and New Year’s Eve – not just in the Garza home, but everywhere in Laredo. Made from a round, tortilla-like dough, fried and then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, buñuelos were a family favorite in south Texas.
“My mom grew up eating them,” says Veronica, “and she learned to make them from her grandmother, so I’ve wanted to create a grain-free version since before we even started Siete.”
Veronica created her grain-free version with cassava masa, sprinkled with coconut-sugar, cinnamon and vanilla seasoning. For a true taste of the Garza family tradition, she recommends enjoying them with coffee or hot chocolate. Launching the sugary treat for preorder on their website last month, the products sold out in a matter of hours.
With such high demand already, the brand is looking to produce more buñuelos for national customers through the Siete Foods website. Thankfully for Austinites, however, the products will be available at two locations of Wheatsville, which was also the first company to carry Siete products back in 2014.
Veronica attributes the buñuelo buzz to the heritage-inspired recipe, with so many customers missing familiar childhood treats and looking for healthier versions for their grain-free diet. For other customers, she says, the excitement is just that delectable combination of fried tortilla dough and cinnamon sugar.
“No matter what culture you’re from,” she laughs, “everybody loves cinnamon and sugar.”